Punish Bachmann

During Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony 'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members Mellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) MORE’s recent trip to Egypt, protesters threw shoes and tomatoes at the motorcade because they believe the Obama administration rigged recent elections to ensure the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohammed Morsi (now elected president), would win, all part of a secret pro-Islamist agenda. Reports indicated protesters cited American blogs like Lucianne.com (founded by conservative Lucianne Goldberg, who played a role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal); former Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney, known for his theory that the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to impose Islamic Shariah Law and infiltrate the American government; as well as recent claims by Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannPawlenty opts out of Senate run in Minnesota US ambassador repeated debunked claim that Abedin has 'egregious' ties to Muslim Brotherhood Bachmann considering running for Franken's seat MORE (R-Minn.) that the Obama administration has been infiltrated by loyalists to the Muslim Brotherhood, specifically naming Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to Secretary Clinton, and that billions of American dollars had been paid to the Muslim Brotherhood rather than aid to the Egyptian military.  

Having known Huma for over 15 years as a friend and former colleague, these politically motivated, racist, xenophobic charges are disheartening and truly disgusting. It’s further troubling that Bachmann’s ridiculous assertions have resulted in threats against Huma, who’s also a new mother, requiring police protection. Personal attacks have become part of the norm for public servants on both sides of the aisle in Washington’s partisan games. However, as senior Republicans like Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain rips Trump for attacks on press NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Meghan McCain says her father regrets opposition to MLK Day MORE (Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDHS chief takes heat over Trump furor Overnight Defense: GOP chair blames Dems for defense budget holdup | FDA, Pentagon to speed approval of battlefield drugs | Mattis calls North Korea situation 'sobering' Bipartisan group to introduce DACA bill in House MORE (S.C.), House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE (Ohio) and strategist Ed Rollins have honorably made clear, this attack crosses any line of decency. 

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Bachmann and the others who signed on to her call for an investigation have abused their position as members of the House of Representatives, making baseless accusations that recklessly jeopardize an already tense situation in the Middle East, and endangering the life of an American secretary of State and Americans in the region by stoking anti-American sentiment. Despite the likelihood that she will lose her reelection bid, Bachmann should be removed from the House Intelligence Committee, as the others who signed should be removed from their committees; all illustrated a willingness to abuse their positions and access in a manner that jeopardizes America’s security.

Comparisons to McCarthyism are appropriate, yet these accusations are further offensive because President Obama is the real target. Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertGOP leaders pitch children's health funding in plan to avert shutdown House headed for cliffhanger vote on NSA surveillance Gohmert: Mueller 'would love to get Trump's scalp' MORE (R-Texas), a signatory with Bachmann, previously asserted that pregnant women from the Middle East come to the United States on tourist visas with the goal of giving birth here in a “terror baby” plot; Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksThis week: Time running out for Congress to avoid shutdown Woman accuses New York state senator of sexual misconduct Womack wins initial support to become Budget chairman MORE (R-Ariz.) has called for an investigation into whether the Center for American Islamic Relations was infiltrating the U.S. government by placing interns in Congress. Like Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE’s birtherism, or Romney-campaign claims that Obama “doesn’t understand America” or “The president has to stop denigrating American values,” they all feed into the narrative of the fearful “otherness” of our first African-American president. As we saw during the controversy over the proposed cultural center near Ground Zero, or the polls that show surprising percentages of Americans believe Obama was not born in America or is not a Christian, otherness fear-mongering, specifically targeting Arab people and Muslims, has been permitted to fester for too long. The result is a less globally competitive, internally divided country, unable to embrace change and move forward as a multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic, multireligious America bound by a Constitution that calls on us to respect the rights and freedoms of every citizen.

Karen Finney is a political analyst for MSNBC and Democratic consultant, and co-host of POTUS/Sirius XM’s “The Flaks.”